Monday, 31 March 2014

Politics: How will the benefits cap affect the health of MSers in the UK?

George Osborne’s recent benefit cap will limit the amount of money that the Government spends on welfare in relation to people with MS living England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland has some flexibility in relation social spending. Welfare spending, excluding the state pension and some unemployment benefits, will be capped next year at £119.5billion.

In this context the caps seem short-sighted, since they have failed to identify the reasons for high social spending (roughly 4% of GDP for benefit spending, compared to 5 % as a mean for other EU Countries) e.g. poor health, social exclusion and low level mental health problems, which can all be bundled up into the general effects of low socio-economic positioning - making the benefit cap self defeating.


There are different problems concerning society which are more intractable. These problems, such as an aging population, require something other than a simple welfare cap. Higher spending on disability benefits is becoming necessary for the elderly. Thankfully ATOS Healthcare the 'cruel monster' whose job it was to determine which people with MS are eligible for disability benefits have been banished from the sanctity of State capitalism.




In my opinion, the disappearance of ATOS is a necessary spectacle, i.e. PR stunt. ATOS will surely be replaced by a fiercer company, more determined to feed off a declining NHS and the Welfare State. All the while cheered on by Government, finally able to deal with those sick, entitled people.

The good news is that our social spending (funds governments set aside for social programs. Many of these programs are designed to offer assistance to the poor or needy, and may include allotments for housing, food, and medical care. Depending on the needs of the individual, these programs could offer either permanent or temporary assistance.The ultimate goal of most government social spending programs is the eventual elimination of poverty) isn't that high, that welfare spending can bring down social spending overall, such as by targeting poor health, and that amount of money spent on social matters correlates to growth only in so far as those that spend more have grown faster. Take the cases of Finland and the US. The USA spends 19.2% on social spending whereas Finland spends 29.4%, however since the 1970s Finland's economy has outgrown America 3.8 times over.

Labours, or the oppositions, collaboration (all bar a hand-full of backbench rebels) with the coalition government (con-dems) over the benefit cap is, then, strongly ideological. This is good and once more illustrates the need for Labour to abandon any pretensions to Social Justice. I think neo-liberalism and its form of 'structural adjustments' makes more of the population sick, both physically and mentally, whilst evidently reducing parliamentary democracies to one-party states


I would be interested to hear from MSers living in this country what the think about the benefits cap and how it may affect them? Are any of you prepared to discuss your ATOS assessment with the other readers?

5 comments:

  1. Why do you think there is cross-party collusion on this issue? Is Labour just agreeing to the caps to win the next election?

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    Replies
    1. Maybe it is cross party collusion on a whole lot more? Why has a two tiered privatised NHS appeared so quietly?

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    2. I think people in general do not think about this issue, they are too busy getting on with their day to day activities, to really consider this point, and remain ignorant of what is going on. If you are referring to people whose job it is to be informed on this, then maybe you're right, and there is collusion.

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  2. My experiences with ATOS were terrible. The assessor wasn't listening to me, interoperating things differently from the way I said it. I felt like they were trying to catch me out. I was refused ESA and it went to tribunal. I am wheelchair bound but it didn't matter to them because I can still manage (struggle) 20 meters on my crutches. I have PPMS but the powers that be wouldn't see it as anything other than normal MS. It's not a good time to be ill in Britain I tell you.

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  3. Did you see the BBC 2 Louis Theroux documentary last Sunday in which he explored the American way of death as he looked at end of life care in LA's famous Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre? It was shocking that ill people that are dying run up health bills running in the millions. Heart breaking and scary, it was.

    We are not like the Americans, and our culture's recent attempts to ape some of their ways of administering health care is to our peril. The American mind set is abhorrent when it comes to accessible healthcare and as a culture we need to embrace more core British values. I was on a entertainment website where some mad American was discussing the new Noah movie and preaching Jesus, also shamefully accusing British hospitals of incinerating dead foetuses in order to heat the building. They accused our NHS of being Satanists. That's so wrong and offensive.

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